Can I renegotiate a French 'prêt viager' rate?

Can you renegotiate equity release loan rates if levels drop? J.B.

29 May 2019
By Oliver Rowland

Unlike an ordinary bank loan for buying a home, an equity release loan (prêt viager hypothécaire in French) cannot be renegotiated once you have taken it out, said a spokeswoman for Crédit Foncier, the only bank which has offered such loans in France in recent years.

These loans are aimed at older people and are reimbursable only after the person dies, although a recent change has an option to periodically pay off the interest.

She added that Crédit Foncier had recently stopped offering the loans to new clients.

The bank is currently in the process of being dismantled and its responsibilities transferred to other banks within the Banque Populaire Caisse d’Epargne group.

Crédit Foncier was the only bank that purely specialised in loans. It is planned that nothing should change for clients who already have the loans and they will continue to be catered for.

Crédit Foncier previously told Connexion that it was expected that the prêt viager would be offered to new clients via other banks in the network, but the spokeswoman said that is not currently the case and they cannot yet confirm future plans.

Connexion notes that the French government information on these loans has only very recently been updated (see tinyurl.com/y3745gqk).

The official notaires.fr site still has a page on them (tinyurl.com/y6yo2fyw) and some notaires have acted as intermediaries to organise them.

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